Loretto, PA -- At the recommendation of the search committee, Saint Francis University President Rev. Gabriel Zeis, T.O.R. named Joe Haigh the head coach of the Red Flash women's basketball program on Wednesday afternoon. Haigh, who has spent the past four seasons as the top assistant on former coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl's staff, becomes the seventh head coach in the program's 45-year history.
“After a national search, Joe Haigh emerged as the clear choice to lead our women's basketball program,” said Zeis. “Joe has the knowledge, passion and drive to guide our student-athletes to continued success on the court, in the classroom and in life. The entire university community congratulates Joe on his appointment and we are blessed that he and his family will remain a part of the Saint Francis family.”
The Red Flash reclaimed its status as a small-college dynasty during Haigh's time in Loretto, compiling an impressive 47-25 record against Northeast Conference opponents over the past four seasons. In 2009-10 and 2010-11, the Flash earned its two most recent NEC titles and NCAA Tournament berths.
A 14-year coaching veteran at the collegiate, high school and club levels, Haigh worked primarily with wing players under Robinson Fruchtl and also served as recruiting coordinator.
“I am absolutely thrilled for Joe and Sherri and their family,” said Robinson Fruchtl. “Joe is a perfect fit for Saint Francis and has embraced it ever since stepping on campus four years ago. His family has really become a part of the community and that says a lot about him as a person.”
“He worked extremely hard for me,” Robinson Fruchtl continued. “As our recruiting coordinator, he established many great relationships that have really benefitted the program. He was a part of two championships, so he has a great understanding of what it takes to get back there. He brings knowledge and continuity and, with a veteran team coming back, they should do some great things. I thoroughly support Joe's appointment to this position.”
Haigh not only inherits a talented roster but also a program that will have some of the finest facilities in the NEC at its disposal. A new locker room suite is currently under construction and will compliment a state-of-the-art weight room and a recently completed basketball office suite. The upgrades have added to the program's ability to attract student-athletes that embody the program's commitment to faith, academics, values and winning basketball.
Prior to his arrival in Loretto, he spent two years (2006-08) handling the daily administrative duties as the Director of Basketball Operations at Virginia Commonwealth University, which included coordinating and planning all basketball summer team and skills camps, team travel, as well as overseeing film exchange, the recruiting database, academic affairs and video editing.
“I am honored and excited to become the next head coach at Saint Francis University,” said Haigh. “I want to thank our current and former players for their hard work and commitment during the past four years – without that dedication and our recent successes, this opportunity would not have been available to me.”
“It is humbling to be given the opportunity to lead the women's basketball program, with its great history and tradition, into the future. My family and I are unbelievably thankful to Father Gabe, Dr. [Frank] Montecalvo and [Director of Athletics] Mr. [Bob] Krimmel for this tremendous opportunity to represent the Saint Francis University community and women's basketball.”
From 2005 to 2006, Haigh was a business teacher at Patrick Henry High School (Ashland, Va.) and coached the junior varsity boys' basketball team at tradition-rich Benedictine High School in Richmond, Va.
He served as an assistant at Randolph-Macon College for the men's basketball program under Mike Rhoades during the 2004-05 season when the Yellow Jackets won their fourth-consecutive regular season league championship.
Haigh also was an assistant coach for the 16U and 17U boys AAU programs in Richmond, Va. during the 2005 and 2006 summers, and was an assistant at Thomas Jefferson High School (Auburn, Wash.) in the 2003-04 season. In addition to his season at Benedictine High School, Haigh was also a head coach for the Puyallup Bulls/Irish (Puyallup, Wash.) AAU basketball team from 1997 to 2002.
As a player, he led the Green River Community College (Auburn, Wash.) squad in three-point and free throw percentage in 1991-92.
A native of Puyallup, Wash., Haigh received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Notre Dame in 1995, and his Masters of Science in Sport Leadership from VCU in 2005. He also earned his teaching license through the University of Virginia in May 2006.
Haigh's wife, Sherri (Orlosky), played basketball for four years at the University of Notre Dame, and is ranked in the top ten all time in three-point and free throw percentage. Joe and Sherri have five children: Anna (11), Teresa (9), Patrick (7), Daniel (5), and Mary (2).